LOS ANGELES – The Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) is back. The annual arts and culture festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, at the Echo Park Lake in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles.
The popular festival is the largest and longest-running Filipino cultural celebration in Los Angeles. Organized by culture and arts nonprofit FilAm Arts, FPAC showcases the best of traditional and contemporary Filipino food, music, performances, arts, and crafts.
This year, the festival will feature the 1st Annual Los Angeles Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) Friendship Tournament. It will be hosted by Los Angeles Doce Pares, an LA-based group that teaches and promotes traditional and non-traditional forms of indigenous Filipino fighting arts. LA Doce Pares hopes that their FMA tournament will be entertaining and educational at the same time.
Jon Palos of LA Doce Pares said that it is important to bring awareness to an art form that is richly ingrained in Filipino culture but at the same time “on the verge of being lost in globalization.” According to Palos, it wasn’t until recently that FMA was even recognized as a cultural art in the Philippines.
“Bringing an FMA tournament to FPAC creates an opportunity for Fil-Ams to see it for the first time and garner information on how they too can learn and practice [an art form that] has always been part of our history as a people,” Palos said.
FPAC Co-Programming Director Nico Nava said that the FMA tournament is in line with their theme of “Bridging Generations.” Nava added that they want to show the “amalgamation between how the founding Filipino masters practiced their indigenous fighting arts and the improvements that today’s generation of practitioners have contributed to the current FMA scene.”
The tournament is sanctioned by the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) and will follow the WEKAF rules and regulations. The divisions are: Forms (or katas), Single Stick Sparring, and Padded Stick Sparring.
In the Forms division, participants ages 3 and up will showcase their mastery of the different traditional and non-traditional disciplines or kata. Participants will be subdivided into their respective age and experience class.
In the Single Stick Full-Armor Sparring Competition, participants will wear full armor during fights and will also be subdivided according to weight and experience class. A 3-Man Team Exhibition Match will be conducted by Doce Pares during this part of the tournament.
In the Padded Stick Sparring Competition, participants will wield padded sticks with no body armor, and will be judged according to a points-based system.
According to Palos, there will be no gender-based categories,and participants of all styles, disciplines, and levels of experience are welcome to join.
FMA at FPAC
This will be the first year that an official FMA tournament will be held at FPAC. According to Palos, he first got involved with FPAC through FilAm Arts interim executive director Tina Salonga-Bulchand.
Palos, a first generation Fil-Am and a native of Los Angeles, said that it “means the world” for him and his group to give back and honor their Filipino cultural roots, and to bring awareness and recognition to an art form that is part of our historical heritage.
Palos also serves as the director for WEKAF Southern California. He said that because the FMA community is a tight circle, much of what they do is not seen on an everyday basis.
“Actually most Filipinos can’t even identify what is Filipino Martial Arts is,” Palos said. He pointed out that because most people at FPAC will probably witness an FMA tournament for the first time, the high intensity action during the tilt will definitely leave a lasting impression.
“I can still recall the first tournament that I witnessed in person and the awe that overcame my thoughts. I expect that same effect on most if not all the spectators,” Palos added. (By Mico Letargo)
To register for the tournament, visit https://www.fmatournament.org. For more information about the WEKAF rules, go to http://bit.ly/WEKAF-rules.
FPAC is a free event. No admission fee is needed for entry. It will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at Echo Park Lake in Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/FPAC2017 or call (213) 380-3722. For sponsorship and vendor opportunities, please email info@filamarts..org.
Catch FilAm Arts on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FilAmArtsLA/), Instagram (@filamartsla), and Twitter (@FilAmArts).
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